Discussing Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ with Utica Police
One television series has become a must-watch for the Keeler crew. The Netflix series "Making a Murderer" has become a hot topic on the show. This morning we asked the Utica Police Department's Lt. Steve Hauck to join the discussion and share his thoughts, from a law enforcement perspective, on both the show and the case that inspired it.
Hauck says, based on research that he has done since he watched the series, that he does believe that evidence important to the case was left out of the program. He says that, despite the fact that he thinks that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted, there were some serious errors in judgement of many of those who were involved.
One of those judgement errors, Hauck says, was obviously by the Calumet County District Attorney, Ken Kratz, who was later caught in a sexting scandal that eventually resulted in his stepping down from his position in 2010. Additionally, says Hauck, the actions of Brendan Dassey's first lawyer, Len Kachinsky, were inappropriate as well. "I think that this attorney, ...before he even went in, agreed 'my client did it,' and that's it."
On the subject of the confession of Brendan Dassey, who was sixteen years old at the time of his initial questioning in the case, Hauck says, "...Not even so much on a technical issue,...it's a human issue...You're not looking for a confession; you're not looking for someone to tell you they did it. What you're looking for is the truth." He says that he believes that the officers involved were initially seeking the truth but, "I think they got very frustrated because of (Brendan Dassey's) inability to communicate...He wasn't some mastermind..."
One of the things that concerned Hauck, he says, is the methodology employed by officers in the questioning of Dassey. "I don't like the fact that they gave him facts of the case... because a lot of facts are only known to the killer or killers."
He calls to mind the JonBenét Ramsey case. Ramsey was killed in 1996 and, although multiple suspects - including Ramsey's parents - had been named as suspects in the case, police had not developed conclusive evidence pointing to any one person as being the killer. Ten years later, in 2006, a teacher by the name of John Mark Karr, falsely confessed to killing Ramsey, citing important details in the case. However, authorities were suspicious of his confession because he had only given facts that were available to the public via the media and because no DNA evidence linked Karr to the crime despite his confession. Charges against Karr were eventually dropped.
Hauck says that false confessions are not unusual. In the Dassey case, because police gave the suspect the facts, there is doubt that his confessions are valid. "There is a fine line, because you can't just walk into an interrogation and say, 'Now tell me what you know,' because you're going to get nothing. So you do have to talk about the case with the suspect...I think they crossed the line. I think they went too far into it."
While some of their actions were inappropriate, Hauck says he does not think that police planted evidence in the case. Did they presume guilt and take the case personally? Possibly, he says.
With regard to the length of time that it took officers to search the Avery property, Hauck says the more than week-long search may have been necessitated given the fact that law enforcement personnel did not know what they were looking for, and may have needed to turn over everything in order to find something that may prove useful in the case.
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